In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins made her prediction that the day-and-date release strategy, which sees films come out in theaters and through streaming outlets on the same day, is not something that will last. This comes after the COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive restructuring on how new movies became available to the public, with an extreme example of a purported temporary solution seeing Warner Bros. releasing its entire 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day, blockbusters and all.
Jenkins’ latest Wonder Woman offering, Wonder Woman 1984, was an early member of that same group, coming out on Christmas Day 2020. It should be noted that Jenkins made previous comments expressing support (or at least understanding) for this decision, with her saying that she thought the virus left the studio with “no good option.”
Now, if you’ve been sitting at home for the past several months watching theater-quality movies come out on HBO Max or another streamer the same day they hit theaters then you may be thinking: A.) This is sweet, B.) This is bad for the movie industry, C.) Both of those, but Jenkins isn’t as worried that this new strategy is the new normal.
“I don’t think it’s going to last,” she said to THR. “Streaming is great, but everybody is chasing it for financial reasons, and I don’t think the financial support is there to hold up the industry the way that it is. It’s one thing if it was only Netflix, but now every company has streaming. People are not going to subscribe to that many. Are studios really going to give up billion-dollar movies just to support their streaming service? Financially, I don’t think it makes sense. I see theatrical coming back, and both should exist and will exist. People like to go to the movies. It’s not because they couldn’t see movies at home. We’ve always been able to watch movies at home. It’s nothing new. I think it’s totally coming back.”
In the same interview, she also talked about the compromises that had to be made for Wonder Woman 1984. That came in response to interviewer Chris Gardner asking, “Now that you have some distance from the release of Wonder Woman 1984, anything you would have done differently?”
Jenkins said she’s unsure of anything she could’ve done differently, and said that the amount of unreleased movies piling up (as a result of cinema closures) led to a hurried release that deprived 1984 of a true theatrical run.
“I don’t know what I would have done differently because I feel that, at the end of the day, it was a compromised decision based on a series of compromised options. There wasn’t a good option,” said Jenkins. “Unlike a lot of the movies coming out now, we had been sitting on a finished movie for a while. From there, we watched as every movie was cascading back. What we were faced with was a pile-up [of releases]. The theaters literally asked us to do it. They said, “We’re going to shut our doors if nobody comes in.” So what are you going to do? I am filled with sadness that it didn’t get a real theatrical run. I hope one day it does. It completely changes how people see it, but what are you going to do? It happened. So many people had terrible things happen during the pandemic, and we were one of the losses.”
In the interview, she also talked about being chosen to direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (due out in 2023) and a Warner Bros. Studio Tour she helped with. You can read the whole thing at the link above but also here.